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Yenelli asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

Aesop's fable of fox and grapes. How come a can die from eating a grape?

My brother-in-law fed their 8 year old wheaton terrier grapes; in 2 hours it was at the vets and 8 hours later it died. There's an article that associates grapes with canine renal failure, yet I had a roommate who fed her dalmation grapes (and carrots) all the time.

So now the eternal story about a fox and sour grapes makes me a fox not a canine? What's the deal?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Despite denigration of Aesop's tale as being "only a fable", many canids DO develop a taste for the sweetness of ripe fruit. However -

    Foxes are not dogs.

    The genus and the chromosome count of each is different, and so they cannot be inter-mated to produce kits or pups.

    There has been some reclassification among canid groups since I bought my reference book, but I think the following have stayed the same:


    Red Fox = Vulpes vulpes, has 34 chromosmes

    Arctic Fox = Alopex lagopuis, has 52 chromosomes

    The two can be crossed but the progeny are all mules (= sterile) with 43 chromosomes.

    Ruppells Sand Fox = Vulpes rupelli, has 40 chromosomes

    Foxes cannot be crossed with dogs.

    Dogs have 78 chromosomes, and cross to produce fertile pups. Their main varieties are:

    Domestic dog = Canis familiaris

    Grey Wolf = Canis lupis

    Red Wolf = Canis rufus

    Coyote = Canis latrans

    It used to be thought that some domesticated dogs descended from jackals, but that is now discounted. The only chromosome number I found for jackals was 74, and so even if a cross with a dog was possible the offspring would be mules.

    Golden jackal = Canis aureus

    Black-backed jackal = Canis mesomalas

    I have inadequate information about:

    Pampas Fox = Dusicyon gymnocercus

    Forest Fox = Cerdocyon thous

    Fennec = Fennecus zerda, has 64 chromosomes

    Raccoon Dog = Nyctereutes procyonoides, has 48 chromosomes.

    All of which ought to indicate that you can't expect the chemistry of a fox and a dog to be the same.

    As a species, the canids are predators and cannot themselves make much use of plant material. Tree fruits are the most available, it being easy to break the cellulose wall of such large objects, and start digesting the flesh. But the dog doesn't have the right gut bacteria & enzymes to make a good job of it. Dogs needing special plant diets for particular diseases need the material pre-digested by having the right enzymes poured over the macerated plants and left for a while to break-down the protein. Cooking vegetables and fruits makes them easily digested by canids but also destroys some of the valuable materials.

    There are many plants that dogs are hyper-sensitive to. Grapes and garlic are but two, along with raw onions and raw beans (most raw beans are also toxic to us). But my dogs have no after-effects from eating the leftover of my stew, which is loaded with cooked onions & herbs-&-spices. will scare you with its list of toxic plants!

    As you've already been told, size is important. Vets always weigh a dog before calculating how much poison to administer, so that the dose kills what it is meant to kill but doesn't kill the dog,

    You are possibly aware that there are some commonly used medications that must NOT be given to certain breeds of dogs, and others that must NOT be given to descendants of certain ancient tribes of Man. Genetic differences don't just affect size & colour, they have millions of influences. And so doctors & vets quite often have to experiment to find out what will actually work for a particular patient.

    Les P, owner of GSD_Friendly:

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  • 1 decade ago

    Grapes do have a chemical that is toxic to dogs, but it affects different dogs in different ways. Smaller dogs obviously can't handle as much of the toxin as a larger one, just like a smaller human usually can't handle as much alcohol as a larger one. The fox is a canine, but it's also an animal that has not been domesticated, and therefore has more of a protective system in case it eats a rotten piece of meat or something like that. My dog has eaten grapes and raisins, because she used to take them from my rabbits, and she never got sick from them, but my aunt had a dog that died from eating a handful of grapes. It really depends on the dog, I think. I'm sorry about the terrier, though.

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  • exsft
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Grapes are not a natural food source for dogs as tehy contain a chemical which can be toxic to dogs especially puppies.. As for Aesop, it's a fable..

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